Tag Archives: editing zen

The Love of Editing. Not.

Talking to myself again

SPOILERS FOR ALPHA FEMALE AHEAD – Do not read if you want to read AF and want to be surprised.

Okay, here’s the deal.  In the current version of this pain in the ass novella that demands to be written Alpha Female, Natasha is attacked by Delia (her direct competition for Luke) and Delia poisons her.  Also, she was about to leave Luke and go home when she’s attacked.

I’ve had a few niggling issues with this.  At first I thought, ‘well…Natasha’s not good at relationships so her bailing makes sense’ but after rewriting a key scene which made it so Natasha doesn’t leave, I’m not sure how to bring in her getting poisoned.  First off, Luke wouldn’t let anyone but especially Delia near Natasha as he’s so protective of her.  I thought, ‘hey, what about that hunt scene you wanted to add?’ and then I got derailed because hello, it wouldn’t be safe for Natasha to be the only non-wolf amongst wolves, right?  She’d be vulnerable.  And she hasn’t been changed yet, so she can’t shift.  Although having her have the pain of a possible shift would be interesting.  Cuz yanno, the Pack would bring it on if she’s truly part Lupi.

So how could Natasha get attacked without it being made of fail?  Let’s see…brainstorm, godammit….

Party.  Someone lures Natasha away and Delia swipes her quickly with her claws.
Natasha tries to leave, and boom! Delia attacks her (the original plan, duh)
Hey.  Could Natasha leave the area (not to go home) — she needs some time alone or something.  Crap, I could even have er make contact with the other Covenant peeps and Alisia (her Queen) at the same time.  If Natasha snuck out, really stealthy-like (she is an assassin, after all), and Luke’s distracted by something or someone, and her bodyguard is also distracteed (too easy?) and it takes a few seconds tops for Delia to fly by in wolf form and swipe her and promptly disappear….

Hmmm.  I has problems.  Luke wouldn’t let himself get distracted.  What could take him (and the bodyguard) out of the picture?  Something else, a Pack fight, something to mediate, something that needs doing right now and he just has to leave.  But he’d have someone watch Natasha.

It’s to damn bad that Natasha can’t be invisible.  Unfortunately, I can’t bring that in because, hello, her people don’t have that ability.  I could play it like the assassins have mastered their glamour ability and appear to be invisible, but it’s actually camoflage.  But that begs the question — why hasn’t she used this ability before?  You’d think she’d use it to get away from Luke.  Then again, she prolly couldn’t in the Between, and then after that she was among everyone and there was no way to escape…could that work?  Yeah, but wanting to leave and escaping would be so much easier if she’s invisible.  Right?

But wait.  Aren’t glamour abilities lessened in our world?  Because of the truce?  Maybe she doesn’t think it would work, and then she tries, and then she’s standing there, seemingly safe, and she’s talking to her people, and bam! Delia attacks her.  This assumes that she decides to go visible again, and wouldn’t she want to stay invisible?

Maybe it stops working once she’s touched by anyone or anything.  Maybe that’s a limitation.  But Delia would need to suspect that she’s there to actually know where to start running.  Unless she sees Natasha leave, then seemingly disappear, and is really curious and sort of deduces that she’s somewhere nearby.

Ugh, I don’t effin know.

2010 in Review and 2011 goals

This year just flew by.  I don’t even know what happened to it.  It felt as if I were making no progess anywhere, but I did accomplish a few key things.  I also had to adjust my goals to accomodate Alpha Female, which wasn’t planned.  All in all, this was a pretty productive year.

What I accomplished:

~I finished the 3rd draft of Pirouette in May and am gearing up for the final revision (which is my #1 goal for 2011)
~I started the Flamebound revision using HTRYN.  Got to lesson 8 of 22.  Yeah, that was one of the things that got adjusted. 
~I wrote and rewrote and completed Alpha Female.  My original goal was to submit it to an anthology by the November 1st deadline.  After getting it back from a wonderful beta, I realized that it wasn’t going to work for the antho.  I decided to expand it, as most of the issues were due to trying to keep the wordcount within the limits (25k) and then decided to try to finish it up by the end of the year.  Which I pretty much did, if you don’t count the tweaks I’m currently working on.
~I started Broken and got it up to 12k.  Broken was a personal challenge to myself, as it’s got a bit of BDSM in it and I’d never written that before. It’s also a different genre for me. I am very pleased with how it’s going.
~I critiqued 3 novels for writer friends.  While this isn’t a huge thing, I made my deadlines for the most part and got the honor of reading some really good books.
~I joined up with a few writer friends and started Turtleduck Press, which is our publishing endeavor which will hopefully change the world, muhaaaa.
~I self-pubbed Life as a Moving Target through them, which has been a dream of mine since December 2002 when I wrote the very first poem in that collection.  After trying traditional publishing, I decided to go ahead and self-publish it.  I’ve gotten some great feedback so far.  And it’s so dear to my heart.
~I wrote approximately 100k this year.  Not bad considering I did mostly revising and editing.  Some writing, too.  I’m glad to have hit 100k.  It certainly didn’t feel like 100k.
~I wrote and rewrote my query letter for Pirouette.  I think I have it nailed.  We’ll see.

So, yep, not a bad year at all.

Goals for 2011:

~SUBMIT something.  This is HUGE.  This year was supposed to be the year for that, but I got a bit derailed.  I will submit something if it kills me.  Most likely either Alpha Female or Pirouette.
~Finish up Alpha Female and get it critted
~Do the final revision on Pirouette and get it to critters.
~Submit something!
~Continue Flamebound revision, hopefully finish (I see a rewrite in my future…)
~Finish Without Wings, my second poetry chapbook with Turtleduck Press, and get it to approvals by Feb. 1st.  This is a biggie because it still needs some work and time is ticking.
~Write (hopefully) Darkweaver.
~Work on Don’t Close Your Eyes, chapbook #3.
~Do not get derailed this time.  Stay to the goals.
~Get an agent

Will I accomplish all of that?  Perhaps.  But I will try for sure.  It feels like 2011 will be a good year.

Alpha Female is done!

Yep, just finished it a few minutes ago.  It needs a final tweak, but it’s basically finished!  It’s at 38k, 2k less than the projected 40k.  Once I do my tweaks, it’ll probably end up around 40k.

This one gave me fits to the very end.  I’m so glad to be done.  Another year-end goal accomplished.

Next is the tweaks, and back to the Pirouette revision.

The Dark Moment…I think

I just got done writing a very emotionally difficult scene in Alpha Female, and I thought I’d share.

SPOILER ALERT!  Don’t read any further if you plan on reading it and want to be surprised.

The backstory: Luke is the male lead, Natasha is the main character.  Luke and Natasha have fallen in love, and Luke has healed her after she almost died but the price he paid was “going rogue,” which basically means he’s reduced to his animal impulses and not much else (including speech…he speaks very oddly here). She’s trying to get through to him, because he is extremely dangerous and could kill her.  And she believes she can save him….

“It’s not just you,” Natasha said, her voice quivering. “It’s everything. I still have to do the rituals for my Fallen. And, home. I suppose I could go back…in time.”

He nodded. “Back, you. Me, leave. Now.” That tightness got worse, almost suffocating, and he reached out and brushed her shoulder. Little touch. Just to see. “Sad, no. Don’t want.”

“It’s all right.” Natasha reached out to him, twining her fingers with his. “I’ll be fine. It’s you I’m worried about.”

“No, you. Worry, no.”

“How can I not? You almost hurt me, you can barely speak…how am I going to fix this?” Tears streamed down her cheeks, and she sobbed.

He laid his hand on the the edge of one wing. “Choice, me. Heal, you.”

“You should have let me die!” she said, her hands clenched into fists. “You would find another and you wouldn’t be…this.” She stood and walked towards the door. Away from him.

And even though she should have gone and he should have let her, he let out a whimper. He didn’t want her to leave, he realized. He wanted to hear her talk to him and touch his hand. He wanted her near him. Not far away.

Not outside.


“Don’t…go,” Luke said, forcing the words out. His heart raced in time with his thoughts. Chaos again. Chaos, no.

Natasha arched a brow. “Don’t go?” she repeated. “Is that what you said?” She closed the distance between them in three long strides. “Say it again!”

He winced. He wasn’t sure he could do it again. “Go, don’t. No…” He let out an ear-piercing scream, so loud that he was sure he’d popped his own eardrums. He couldn’t stand this. He needed to talk, not be an animal. “No…”

“All right. Take a breath. Say it again for me.” Her eyes held the world to him. He was nothing without her.


His mouth worked, his tongue moved, but he couldn’t pry the words out. He couldn’t slow his thoughts long enough to know what sounds to make.

He really was an animal, wasn’t he?

He let out another scream. This time, it was a howl. Once he turned [wolf], he could never go back.


So I’m doing pretty well with this, which makes me all sorts of happy.  Now back to your regularly scheduled programming…

Buy my chapbook!

You know you want to.  Come on, it’s only $7 and Christmas is coming…

:looks around:

Oops, did I just say that?  Sorry.  I think Alisia’s been hijacking my brain again.

What I was going to say was that my chapbook, Life as a Moving Target, is now for sale by Turtleduck Press.  Head on over to the Turtleduck Press site at http://www.turtleduckpress.com or to my website at http://www.erinkendall.com to get more information and/or to buy a copy.

You know you want to.

Even if you’re not into poetry — my chapbook is written so everyone can understand it.  That was important to me. 

:glares at Alisia, who’s grinning at her:

Um, sorry about that.  She’s doing it again.

Anyhoo, a friend of mine reviewed my chapbook on her website.  Here’s what she had to say:

Again and again, she uses metaphors for balance, for movement, for focus — tightropes and pirouettes, crawling, tops, the world pulling her along with it. Other images appear, rainbows and fog, medical terms and magic, shadows and shapes.

Overall, this is an incredibly moving and personal collection of poems, that deserves to be lingered with, reread, and shared. I encourage everyone to check out the excerpt at the Turtleduck Website and consider buying the chapbook.

If you’d like to read the full review, check it out here: http://www.erinmhartshorn.com/life-as-a-moving-target-review/ .  I’m so excited about it!

In other news, Alpha Female is giving me fits, so it hasn’t been going well.  But I did finish the Pirouette notecards.  The grand total? 118 !  That’s alot of notecards! But they will really help me nail down what needs to be changed.

Goal for the rest of the year: get as much done on either project.  After the first of the year, things will get crazy again, so for now I’m taking it easy.  No outrageous demands.  :grabs Inner Slave Driver by the throat:  You hear that?  I need a break.  And I will take it.

:whip cracks:

I mean, uh.  Yeah.  Going to write till my fingers bleed.  Uh huh.  Must work harder.  Must…….  :incoherent whispers:

NaNoRevMo – days 21-27

This past week has been really rough on me.  I lost a few days due to some personal stuff that made it virtually impossible to work on anything.  Everything is fine.  I just wasn’t in the mental place for writing and taking the time off actually worked to my advantage.

I was also horribly stuck on Alpha Female.  It always happens near the end: I’ll lock up completely and not be able to move forward to save my life.  I’ve heard that some writers subconsciously don’t want to finish their projects and by getting stuck, they’re able to delay the inevitable. It happened with Flamebound, too, although I’m not sure if it happened for Pirouette.  But it’s starting to flow better now, so I might actually be over the hump and into the home stretch.

I don’t doubt that I’ll need to do another edit pass, though.  Some of it is new words and right now, the goal is to finish it first.

I also worked on more Pirouette notecards.  That’s also coming along.

And of course, my chapbook is launching with Turtleduck Press on December 1st.  You can find out more at our website, http://www.turtleduckpress.com .  I’m looking forward to that. 

Bits of poetry are still rattling around in my head, but nothing’s jumped out at me.  I may need to just freewrite sometime soon and see what happens.  For some reason, I can’t seem to make the pieces gel into something cohesive.  I imagine it’s because I haven’t written much poetry lately.  Must change that.

All in all, I made pretty good progress if a bit slow.  Hopefully, things will pick up in the final 3 days.

NaNoRevNo days 15-20

Yeah, just moving along.  I’ve worked mostly on Alpha Female, except for one day when I got really, really stuck and couldn’t conceive the notion of writing.  I thought about it instead.  That day — I don’t remember which — I worked on the Pirouette notecards.  I also gave some thought to my second chapbook that’s releasing April 1st from Turtleduck Press.  Working title is Without Wings, and it’s all love poetry.  I’ve been trying to get myself to write more happy poems because the happy ones I have are of inferior quality and the better quality ones are mostly sad.  I’m not sure I want to have a whole collection of sad poetry, so it’s time to write some happy poems.  But, unfortunately, the muse isn’t cooperating.

Last time I wrote a poem was last year for Life as a Moving Target.  I actually wrote 3, 2 of which are included.  The other, Insignificant, will be in the second chapbook.  But as much as I try, I can’t get into the proper mindset.

I used to freewrite alot and then turn it into poetry.  I wrote alot.  I still have alot of my drafts.  I’m considering using some of those as jumping off points for the new poems.  I have a list of lines in my iPhone, but they are all for the third chapbook, Don’t Close Your Eyes.  I wish my muse would just throw me a bone.

Anyhoo, so that’s what I’ve been doing.  Slowed down some on Alpha Female, but today I was able to work through the block.  It’s still not perfect, but good enough for now.  I’d like to finish it by the end of the month.  I should be able to do that still.

What got me so stuck?  Werewolf pack rules and werewolf fight scenes.  Yep, that was my undoing.  And I decided to use something from the original draft (nothing is ever wasted) so that was an added bonus.  I still have a few things to clear up and a plausible way for the ending to happen, and another edit, and then I think I can call it done.

This has been a very insightful experience.

Also, one of the winners of my giveaway hasn’t contacted me so I’m re-drawing a new name tomorrow.  If you weren’t part of the first, comment here (with an email address or you will be disqualified) and I will add you to my original list.  Those of you who were part of the original giveaway are still eligible for the re-draw so no need to add your name again.

Talking to myself

I wrote 576 new words on Alpha Female and I’ve set the end in motion.  However, I left out something really important, so it’ll need to be added in next time.  Hopefully tomorrow.

What I’m grappling with is the Pack structure.  They have a mating rite where the males compete to mate with the Alpha Female (Natasha, the main female character).  They have rules.  Delia, the antagonist, broke the rules.  So technically, she should be dealt with and wasn’t.  Well, except for a death threat.  😉  I dunno.  I guess there are more things to consider. My beta reader brought the whole Delia thing to light — Luke, the male lead and Natasha’s love interest, needs to address Delia trying to kill Natasha.  She should, technically, die, as was implied in one of the earlier drafts.  I need to definitely tie this up before the novella ends.

And then there’s the climax.  I’m basically keeping what I had, except for the circumstances that lead to it, if that makes sense.  Luke needs to go rabid on her, and she needs to [spoiler alert!] heal him. [end spoiler alert!].  I really, really like that.  It’s different than what I’d planned, but as I was writing the current draft, I went with it.  I think it works well. 

I think it might be trying to tie all the loose ends together in one shot that’s killing me.  Maybe I need to do it one by one, not all at once.  I always feel like my brain is going to explode.  Or maybe I could make notes to refer to later about these things.  I’m still learning what works and what doesn’t.  And I feel a bit like I’m climbing through quicksand.  However, if I can get this done within the next few weeks, I could get it back to my beta reader and maybe, just maybe, be able to submit it by the end of the year, which is the goal.


NaNoRevNo – days 6-13

My bad.  I meant to update every day or every few days and I kind of dropped the ball here.  I lost 2 days due to being sick.  The others I worked on the Alpha Female revision.  I’m actually almost to the end of the draft and have discovered that I’ll need to rewrite most of it.  That’s a good thing and a bad thing.  There is a lot wrong with the end.  It needs to go in a different direction.  I also have a few more tricks up my sleeve. The actual ending is kick ass.  It’s just that what comes before sucks.

There, I said it.

Little bit of work on the Pirouette notecarding.  A few awesome first lines came to me a few days ago at work (where else?) so I’m kind of excited about that.  Still fending off the plotbunny from hell.  I now have a kick ass first line.

“I tried to cheat Death once.  Instead, I became Death.”

Doesn’t that just give you shivers?

In chapbook news, I’m pulling names tomorrow.  If you want to be in on it, comment to this post or my status on Facebook.   The short version is that 2 people will win a signed copy of Life as a Moving Target before it releases on Dec. 1st.

We go live in 2 1/2 weeks.  I still have some stuff to finish up on the website.  A “behind the scenes” page that will contain the first draft of the opening poem and a few that didn’t make the chapbook cut.  Also, a bit about how the chapbook came to be, what inspired particular poems.  So if you end up reading it and want to know more, stop by my website after release.  Dec 1st.  Got that?  Good.

NaNoRevNo days 3, 4, & 5

I kind of got busy so I haven’t been able to post my progress.  I worked on Pirouette’s notecards and finished adding the conflicts and such to the ones that have been written.  I just need to finish writing up the rest and adding conflicts to those.  Things are making sense, and I’m beginning to see where there’s weak conflict, no conflict, or (and this one’s a killer) no twist.  Every scene needs one.  So I have to give that some thought.  This twist/adding conflicts thing is part of HTRYN and so far, it’s really helping.

I’ve been working on Alpha Female as well.  I have some plotty things to consider before moving on.  But it’s coming along.  I feel optimistic that the draft is already much better.

The idea that I had to fix a problem?  Seems to be working so far.  I have no illusions that it’s going to be The Fix, but again, I’m feeling optimistic about it.  My idea is to try to nail everything in one go like Holly Lisle does.  Obviously, if I can’t, I won’t.  But with a project that’s smaller in scope, it might be doable.  And if I can, it will help me so much with Pirouette’s revision.  So, I think I’m doing pretty darned well so far.

Since I haven’t shared a snippet in forever, I’ll share one from Alpha Female.

Dropping Luke’s hands, I turned to Simone, acutely aware that I was frowning. “I’m not convinced that I am your Alpha Female – ”

“You don’t understand.” Simone’s eyes were warm and accepting, her face peaceful. “You smell of Pack. Only Pack smells of Pack. It follows that you’re our Alpha Female.”

Delia stood now, her mouth twisted in a grimace. “I for one will not allow a Fae to lead me. I don’t care if she smells like Pack and has one ounce of Lupi blood in her! This is unacceptable, Luke.” She put her hands on her hips, glaring at Luke as if she wanted him dead. Or was it me she wanted dead?

“Delia,” Luke said in a warning tone. “It’s not like I get to choose what race my Alpha Female is.”

Delia scowled in my direction. “She herself has denied it. So let it go.”

“It’s not that easy and you know it!” Luke was suddenly in Delia’s face. He’d moved so fast that I couldn’t track it. But he was there, his face red and his eyes flashing with suppressed rage. “You’re just pissed off because you’re not the one.”

I knew it! “Apparently his wolf likes me. Not you.” I bared my teeth in a smile that wasn’t genuine.

Delia grabbed Luke’s arm. “Did you see them? Or is this all just a ruse – “ She gasped, backing away from all of us, her face stricken. “It is you.” She recovered quickly, though. She charged at me, moving so fast she was a blur.

I drew both my daggers, ready to fight.

“I’m going to kill you. Slowly.” She held herself tall and regal, her elegant hands clenched in fists.

Suddenly there was a press of power, and Luke let out an inhuman growl. “You will do no such thing.” His eyes flashed amber; several people gasped. “Stand down, Delia. Or you won’t like the outcome.”

“Crap, Delia, he’s going to turn!” Simone grabbed Delia’s wrist, but Delia pulled away from her.

“What are you talking about?” I asked, my heart racing. I had a bad feeling about this.

The others moved into a loose semi-circle around me. The wolves growled.

“You don’t want to know,” Simone said evenly. She’d paled just a bit, and was that a tremor I saw in her fingers?

“Touch her and I will tear your throat out,” Derek said. “As Luke’s Second I order you to stand down.”

Delia threw a punch at me; I ducked. She stumbled, and it gave me the opportunity to grab her. I pressed my blade against her throat, drawing blood. “Do not mess with me. I’m Dark Covenant. I can and will kill you.”

Luke let out another growl. And then he spasmed, falling to the ground.

Chaos. The wolves surrounded him, a living wall. I couldn’t even see him. But the tension in the air was obvious. Something was really wrong.

“Stay back!” Ilene came through. “Luke, stay there. We’ll neutralize the threat.”

I stepped forward into the Circle. “What’s wrong with him? Why is he like that?” My eyes widened as he flailed about, his head thrashing from side-to-side and his hands clenched in fists.

Layla glanced at me, her eyes narrowed. “It’s the madness. Every Alpha Male goes through it.”

Delia shoved me away. I stumbled, almost falling, but not quite. “Let me help him.” Her words carried a strong command.

“If you’re his Alpha Female and not her,” Brandon spoke up from beside me, “then prove it. Tame him.”

Delia bit her lip. “I will tame him.” She shot me a dirty look. I fought not to go to work on her with my blade.

I watched as she knelt beside his now-shivering form. She took her hand in his and pressed her lips to his palm, slowly, reverently. She glanced at me again as if to say see? I’m the one.

 I wasn’t sure I believed it. He showed no signs of calming. In fact, he seemed to get more agitated –

Another spasm. His arms flew out, and Delia scrambled away to avoid being hit. She looked shaken.

“I can’t – can’t – do this – “ Luke grated out. He reached blindly for someone or something. “Help!”

I inched forward, but Delia shoved me back again.. She knelt by his side again and touched his face.

And he exploded.

His body flowed into fur and a muzzle, paws and a tail. His eyes burned bright amber. He wheeled on Delia, snapping his jaws.

“You might want to get away from him now,” Derek suggested. “He might actually eat you this time.”